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BattleTech: Campaign Operations
by Carrie C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2016 16:16:08

I was very impressed with this book. It has a lot of great rules that can be used for a variety of Battletech games. I was really impressed by the chapters on force creation, chaos campaign and narrative campaigns. The sample ACS units and teams will be a great help for anyone playing ISW. The only dissapoint I had with this book is that the Clans didn't really seem to get much attention. I really wish the Clans had sample ACS units along with other information, but unfortunately they seemed overlooked in much of the book. It is still a really good book though, and I hope to find a lot of use for it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Campaign Operations
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Valiant Universe RPG: Transcendent's Edge
by Blide S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2016 18:10:57

This is, without a doubt, the single best-written superhero setting sourcebook I have ever purchased. As a long time gamer of super settings, I have bought several good products on this website; but this is the first I have been compelled to review.


It is that good. I simply cannot say enough about the craftmanship of the writing. The reader can become immersed in this setting. You will be drawn in by the city description, the depth of the NPCs, the structure of the various organizations, and even the municipal politics. The deepweb chatter inserted from time to time regarding plans within plans of the big bad guys and their shadow groups was an especially nice touch.


The material is fun to read, the setting is original, and the details are well explained. Bravo!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Valiant Universe RPG: Transcendent's Edge
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Shadowrun: Howling Shadows
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/12/2016 19:25:55

Shadowrun: Howling Shadows is the latest creature book for Shadowrun and as such provides new beings and new challenges. Worth putting on the ‘pick up if you are a GM list’ as it provides so many useful tools and potential adventure ideas, not nearly so useful for players but still a good read.


Shadowrun: Howling Shadows, is a Core Critter Book for the 5th edition of Shadowrun, so it provides additional information on the strange, wonderful and dangerous creatures out and about in the Sixth World.


The book begins with one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then it looks into how (meta)humanity and (para)animals interact from pets to the nations that include awaken animals as citizens or even rulers. An interesting section though the viewpoint of the ‘author’ (as it is written in character) is a bit annoying at times.


Then we move to the part important to the core of the game, Untamed Security, which talks about how animals and para-animals are used by corporate security with subsections on how to train animals and how to defeat them. The section ends with a quick guide to how the Big Ten megacorps approach using animals for or with their security.


Next up is mundane animals, alligator, boar, cockroaches and other animals we would recognize along with rules for basic genetic modifications (cloned, luminescent and so on) of such animals. Eight new mentor spirits, from alligator to spider, are included in this section and add some nice options for magical characters.


Following is Paranormal Animals, filled with weird and wonderful creatures from the omnipresent (and omnivorous) devil rat to cerberus hounds and vollying porcupines, a fun variety to bedevil shadowrunners with. My only complaint is that there are only a few illustrations and the descriptions are often short or nonexistent, yes, we can guess what a greater wolverine is like but what does a piasma or peryton look like? We can guess but a proper description, or better yet, illustration, would have been very helpful. A subsection covers beings altered by the HMHVV (Human-MetaHuman Vampiric Virus) which comes in three types and can infect and alter just about any sentient creature, so you have elvish banshee, human vampires, ghouls and so on. Interesting and dangerous foes or possibly friends for those that still possess their intelligence.


For fun and destruction, there is a selection of Toxic Creatures and Mutants that have been changed and empowered by toxic wastes and radiation and even a couple warped by bad juju. Lovely creatures such as Radhounds, radioactive dogs that hunt in packs, and souleater leeches that, well, I will let you work that out. Many of these creatures are scenarios waiting to happen, if your shadowrunners are up to the task, most of these creatures are really dangerous. This also has a section on the awakened creatures infected by HMHVV, so lamia (infected naga), chupacabra (which seem to be genetically engineered creatures deliberately infected) and others are covered here. In this section there are two pieces of art that showed up in the first HMHVV section which is mildly annoying.


Extraplanar Travelers talks about being from the magical metaplanes who visit or have been pulled into our world, they are manifest spirits often of considerable power and alien agenda. Interesting stuff here but using it strikes me as risking really changing the tone from fantasy cyberpunk to high fantasy with high tech trappings. That warning being mentioned, I do like the Chindi, Native American vengeance spirits, and the spirit of a city made manifest, some good plot thread could be spun off from them.


Then come Technocreatures, which are to animals what technomancers are to other people, i.e. animals that can interact in technology in unique and occasionally destructive ways. From data devouring snakes to playful hacking dolphins, fun stuff to disrupt the cozy lives of the technology dependant.


Next there are the Protospapients, creatures of resonance who live in the deep web and munge (consume) code, including the dark dwelling Grue and the Sintax who very presence makes systems vulnerable to exploitation. These are things to use carefully to drive stories not just to make life miserable for characters, which they would be perfect for, but do not be that GM.


Drakes get a more in depth write up, which admits that no one is really sure how the dragons make them but they do, and more rules for playing a drake and more options for drakes. Though they are more likely to show up as NPCs then player characters as it is so expensive to play one.


The final informational section is Building Man’s Best Friend which covers: creating chimeric creatures, that blend traits from multiple creatures, Warforms, which are genetically perfected animals, dogs being especially popular. Along with discussion of augmenting creatures through various technological means. This section concludes with rules for training animals.


The book wraps up with new critter powers, an index to all of the critter power and a guide to where to find the various creatures. Though it seems odd, and a missed opportunity, that we do not get any new qualities related to animals or other things included in this book.


Howling Shadows is a useful resource providing new tools for the GM, and possibly for the players, with a considerable amount of implied adventure ideas.


Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofsta-
rsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Howling Shadows
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Shadowrun: Howling Shadows
by Jacob A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/12/2016 13:37:35

Howling Shadows is a fine example of the quasi-useful material we are coming to expect from Catalyst for 5th edition Shadowrun.


It contains a notable amount of new, good, artwork. But this addition is stained by reuse of artwork within the same book, and a lack of labels and placement to make it easy to identify what art matches what critter. Which is a minor complaint since it is possible to figure these things out by reading all the entries. Sadly, some of the entries fail to describe the critters accurately, leaving a fair amount of room for interpretation.


It contains a review of numerous sapients already in Run Faster, such as Centaurs, Infected, and Naga. But it limits its content for shifter, the actual animal sapients, to fluff about their nation, offering no new rules or clarification of questions asked in the forums. You can now armor your shifter, which is necessary since Run Faster took away their regeneration. But that also means you are a walking armored animal and lose all chances of guards thinking "meh, it's just a dog". Yet in the entry of Demon Rats it says shifters have regeneration.


A little tip for Catalyst. Stop letting your writers copy-paste from 4th edition books.


Finally you have rules for a trained wolf for your wolf shaman to run with..... accept you don't have any listed means to aquire a regular dog much less a wolf or tiger. In the official forums, a couple authors stepped in to address this issue by saying "house rule it", "it's too hard", and "we intended animals to come from adventures not contacts". This means we are meant to allow our players to buy smart missile drones used to bomb large areas by Grid Overwatch Division from Rigger 5.0 but have to make them go on an adventure to get a kitten. If this was intened, it should have been a sidebar "How to Adopt a Pet", not telling us through the forum. Even if we are intended to allow our player to purchase pets, the modifications are based on the "base cost" which is not given, so that entire section is either useless because animals are "priceless" therefore augments are impossibly expensive, or the augments are free because the animals have no value. Furthermore, if things like hell hounds are raised and used for security, that means there is a supply and demand market for them. Raising a pup into a trained animal takes years, which is generally outside the time scale of a game like Shadowrun.


So it is official from Catalyst, don't buy more books, just house rule everything.


I also must add that one of the writer's posts were so full of grammar and spelling mistakes that it makes one question their qualifications as a writer.


So another tip for Catalyst. Play test your work, especially if you are going to make us wait for a convention before getting the book.


There is a lot of good fluff. Poachers, who must be killing purely for sport since the animals have no value on the black market.


Nice stories that mention creatures not listed in this book.... Catalyst planning a $10 suppliment already?


A great story of a mage using techo-critter ants to spy and murder by borrowing their senses through magic, included their ability to see through cameras they hack, but conveniently the author forgot the long standing rule the magic and matrix do not mix.


Another tip, check that the fluff and fiction does not break the fundimental rules of the system. Since you are delivering much more fluff than system, we are forced to treat the fluff as offical ruling, and some things come up contradictory.


As your writers tell us to house rule the system, we are put into a bad position where one game doesn't match the rules of another. That is why we need rules to go with the fluff.


Drakes are back, and with an interesting twist for the rules. A bit underpowered and their dracoform is next to useless since you can augment your human body and it doesn't effect the drake body. And their fluff fails to explain why they are hunted, but make a big deal about it. So talismongers want my body for reagents? Does that mean I generate reagents from claw trimmings every week? Dragons want me to be a servant? Why? +1 or +2 to a few attributes is nothing. The powers can all be reproduced by a mage, and you could hire a mage with much better skill since I spend 75 out my 25 starting karma to play a drake..... who is hunted.... plus all the negative qualities I took..... and has no drake powers or benefits until I sink 25 more earned karma into him....



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Howling Shadows
by Matthew O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2016 22:40:44

It did what I hoped it would do. i like having monsters in my roleplaying games and I am pleased to add more to Shadowrun.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Technical Readout: 2750
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2016 18:01:13

This was the first book I purchased for the BattleTech Universe and I still have fond memories of it. A worthy addition to any shelf!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Technical Readout: 2750
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BattleTech: Chaos Born (Book One of the Chaos Irregulars)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2016 14:42:42

I won't be purchasing book two; book one is tripe, the same old crap and, though I am normally a BattleTech aficianado, I am having great difficulty getting through the first few story bits. I've read twenty pages since I purchased it, and had to convert it to something I could use, as not everyone uses mobi or epub documents, inconsiderate, and I can't bring myself to desire to read it unless I have absolutely nothing else to do. It's amazing to me a project as poorly conceived as this one can be published, when a work nearly twenty years in the making, and which references everything in the BattleTech universe the way it should be, to establish the work within that universe, can't see the light of day. Ludicrous.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Chaos Born (Book One of the Chaos Irregulars)
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Shadowrun: Howling Shadows
by Kent C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2016 13:16:00

This is another good source book for Shadowrun 5th. I am a little disapointed in the small amount of pics for the creatures, but the descriptions are awesome.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Howling Shadows
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Shadowrun: Rigger 5.0
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/07/2016 19:02:11

So much editing fail in this book.
The errata listings on the official shadowrun forums are massively long with no response from Catalyst who just stopped issuing errata a couple years ago.


They just wholesale left out key rules points that forced the freelancers to respond on the forums with "what was cut accidentally".


Line editing for Srun 5e continues to terrible, please Topps pass this franchise a competent team!



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Rigger 5.0
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Shadowrun: Data Trails
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/07/2016 18:57:01

Just another fail in the long line of Catalyst fails at Srun 5e.


It has nothing in it for Technomancers and has tons of fluff but no actual mechanics for the "Foundation".


Really just poor all around.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Data Trails
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Shadowrun: Howling Shadows
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/07/2016 18:50:42

Another m'eh supplement from Catalyst.
They're just horrific when it comes to editing these books (Street Grimoire was the worst with extensive copy-pasta from 4ed that was nonsensical due to missing items), heck some of them (see Data Trails with nothing for Technos) were just planned poorly to start with.


Howling Shadows is better edited, for the most part, compared to previous catalyst works but thats a pretty low bar to exceed.


Once again however the editing fails at a critical juncture. Specifically the lack of a critter/ animal cost table even though those base costs are referenced elsewhere in the book by calling for multipliers of the missing base costs.


When this was pointed out to Catalyst by many people in the community the line editors response was "this was a conscious choice!". Which is obviously just CYA nonsense as there are base cost multipliers in the book for various animals/ critters but no base cost to apply them to!


All of this points to failure at the Line Editing level.


Really sad stuff.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Howling Shadows
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Shadowrun: Shadow Spells
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/06/2016 11:32:38

Catalyst's Shadow Spells is a fun secondary source book.


An adequate amount of content for the price, nothing revolutionary, and there are a few spells that first time storytellers should think carefully before allowing into their campaign (rot, petrify etc) but for a module to add some bang to your dry spell list, it serves its function. There are more listed traditions, but they all seem bland compared to the existing ones, there are a few that might pique the interest of someone who wants a pre-generated tradition that was not laid out in the Grimoire, and it provides some good flavor for the 6th World, but this will not make or break anyone's collect of SR5 pdfs.


Ultimately a fun buy for the mage of the group but ultimately missable.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Shadow Spells
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BattleTech: DropShips and JumpShips
by steve r. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2016 20:19:53

this is a must for true battletechers . my original copy got destroyed in moving about 10 tears back . i'm just estatic to have a copy back . for the black navy advocates of battletech this is one of 2 publication of FASA's that are the main primers of space combat and civil space commerce . if Catalyst ever republishes the BattleSpace Manual in a PDF format i will be one of the 1st to purchase a copy . so much of my battletech collection was either destroyed outright or damaged so bad as to be useless . it has been a struggle to rebuild that collection , but now that i found your site things are slowly changing .
keep up the good work your doing .
s. rogers



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: DropShips and JumpShips
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Shadowrun: Market Panic (Campaign Book)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/03/2016 15:55:33

Shadowrun: Market Panic lets you know what is going on with the megacorporation at the top of the business food chain in the Sixth World of Shadowrun. It is an interesting read and has a lot of background material that with work, could be leveraged into interesting game sessions but there is very little support for the actual game of Shadowrun in this book, it is almost entirely background material. While a fascinating read, how much use it will actually be for a campaign depends on how tightly your game is tied into higher level corporate politics.


Shadowrun: Market Panic, is a Shadowrun Campaign Book for the 5th edition of Shadowrun, so what does that mean? It means that this book all about the top tier megacorporations, the movers and shakers in the Shadowrun world.


The book begins with one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then it looks into what life is like for the average corporate worker via a heavily noted “day in the life” report on a corporate drone. Some interesting perspective on how life is lived among the corporate masses. For the average game masters, this is probably the single most useful section.


Next, Courting Disaster, discusses the Corporate Court that oversees sorting out “disputes” between the major corporations. It gives a brief history of the court and how it has become a major power in its own right even as serving as a tool of the top megacorporations. The current judges each get a brief description but mostly this serves as a framework for the current corporate power struggles.


The rest of the product is looking at the Big Ten megacorporations in detail starting with Ares and ending with Wuxing and each starts with a one page fiction piece that tells you something about the corp followed by their corporate ranking, list of major shareholders and divisions. While each is done in a slightly different format, generally each corporation’s history, corporate culture and current plans and troubles are examined along with a short section on typical runs for and against that megacorp are covered.


These corporate profiles are the bulk of the product, filling more than 170 pages of the 210 of the book. There seems to be some minor editing problems as the information within each profile sometimes conflicts with those presented in others, but arguably some of that can be written off as the idiosyncratic views of the various section presenters. But it is a bit strange to read one section about how Mitsuhama is now number one, pushing down Saeder-Krupp to the number two ranking while the NeoNet section is all about how they are almost number two. It also assumes a fair amount of familiarity of the setting name-dropping people and places with little context that could be confusing to a new arrival to the setting.


Market Panic is an interesting sourcebook but it is essentially all deep background material. Which is interesting reading and all unless you are running a campaign with really high powered characters, the politics between this CEO or that board of directors is really not important. Especially not to the street level shadowrunner trying to earn the money for their next meal. A discussion on how corporate politics affect shadowrunner and runners would have been helpful and made this book more than just an interesting read.


Consider my rating of this to be 3.5, rounded up to 4 for the RPGNow system.


Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofsta-
rsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Market Panic (Campaign Book)
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Shadowrun: Howling Shadows
by Oliver S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2016 11:13:37

This book is a good and surprisingly well structured catalogue of all kinds of critters that can be used in various runs. And while some may complain that not every previously mentioned critter has been updated to the 5th edition, there are more than enough mundane, magical, mutated and technological beasties with a wide assortment of powers to surprise your runners.
I was pleasantly surprised by the well made index that groups the critters both by region and another that groups them alphabetically.
The only resaon I am not giving this product 5 stars is the anoying fact that it is impossible to add further bookmarks into the barely marked, but otherwise stellar pdf.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Howling Shadows
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